Thursday, December 4, 2003
Pearce has been wishing Kay "Happy Birthday" for the last 3 or 4
days. She says "Come on, don't you know my birthday by
now?" Pearce said, "Of course I know your birthday. I just
don't know what day today is." So that is what boating is -- days no
longer matter. What really is important is what we mean to each other, and
what we mean to our family and friends. This is very hard to
explain. Before we got on our boat, it was very important to keep
dates and appointments. It was very important to chat with friends, to try
to keep within "the loop", to maintain contacts. All of these
are still very important, but it is no longer necessary to keep the
schedule. We are here today, and we pray that we are here tomorrow to
continue whatever we decide to do. We plan to keep our friends and family
in close contact as we travel south to our home in Boynton Beach.
was foggy this morning, and the sun was hidden for a few hours. We crossed
the St. John's River, but we had to slow down to allow a big barge under tow
that was headed out to sea. There was a Navy ship getting ready to leave
the dock, too. All the little tug boats were whistling away, but we had
plenty of time to cross the river before they started out. There is a new
bridge being constructed over the ICW at Wonderwood just past the river at mile
742. There was a sailboat with us that has a mast height of 61', and he
was concerned because no one has made an official reading on the bridge
height. He had seen a story on TV recently that said the bridge was lower
than the required 65' height. He called the Coast Guard who said the sign
boards may or may not be accurate. Another sailboat said he had just gone
through, and the sign board read 61'3". Sea Tow said they'd heard
that there was a bit more room than that, but they recommended he wait until low
tide to be sure. Sea
Tow said they had also heard that the bridge would be at least 5" less than
that 65' height when it is finally finished. That seems to be at low tide,
too. The Coast Guard said they had reports of boats with 59' mast having
trouble there, but they would "ask the bridge owner" to come up with
an accurate measurement. Great for sometime in the future, but at little tough
on the 61' mast today. So what are they going to do? Raise the bridge?
Lower the water? Stay tuned.
We continued down through Palm Valley. This is a six mile no-wake zone,
reportedly the "longest and strangest" in all of Florida. The
houses line the east bank, but the boats are either in marinas behind the houses
or up on davits. The houses range from small shacks to multi-million
dollar extravaganzas. We
arrived in St. Augustine where we tied up at the Municipal Marina. We
went into town for lunch and some sightseeing. We wandered in and out of
art galleries and admired Flagler's hotels. We went into the Ponce de Leon
which is now Flagler College. We were too late for the tours, and the
public is not allowed to roam. We tried to see the Tiffany windows, but
all we could see were a matched pair on either side of the main staircase.
Imagine being a student and living in this wonderful place! Flagler also
built the Alcazar
Hotel across the street which is now City Hall and the Lightner Museum.
There's a statue of Pedro Menendez de Aviles in front of this hotel. He is
credited with the founding of St. Augustine in 1565.
were heading across the market square toward the waterfront when we spied a
familiar face. Jim Connelly, a friend from Narrasketuck Yacht Club back
home in New York, was sitting on a bench reading the paper. What a
surprise! Jim had left Long Island several weeks before us and had been
leisurely heading south toward his ultimate destination of Key West. We
agreed to meet him in a while at the Trade Winds Pub for the Happy Hour.
We then walked down St. George Street which is one of the old streets filled
with shops and homes. After a quick stop back at the Marina to pick up our
mail and drop off our purchases, we met Jim at the pub. We had a nice few
hours exchanging sea stories.
Friday, December 5, 2003
We spent a few more hours this morning visiting more historic sites on our
walk to the ABC store. We were one vodka shy of making it home, so we went
as far west as we had yesterday, and then some. If we'd asked where the
liquor store was yesterday, we would have saved some shoe leather. We
found the home of another Confederate soldier and professor at the University of
the South. Surprisingly, General Kirby-Smith was no relation to Pearce,
but it was interesting to find this connection in St. Augustine.
We hurried back to the boat and were underway by noon just as the sun finally
broke through the clouds. It was warm enough this afternoon to take off
the sweaters. We enjoyed a quiet run past beach homes of all kinds.
We passed Mantanzas Inlet and the fort that was erected to defend the southern
approach to St. Augustine. This is where the remnants of a French fleet
sought shelter after a storm. Menendez (mentioned above) rescued them, fed
them, and then slaughtered all but those who were Catholics. Matanzas
means slaughters. He was following his Spanish king's commands to remove all
French forces from the New World. He just over interpreted the words
"remove from the world". We saw two colonies of white pelicans resting on the shoals.
groups were huddled together and seemed to be ignoring the other birds that were
resting in the same area. I've never seen them fraternizing with the
regular pelicans. Tonight we've stopped
at the Concrete Plant where we anchored last June. It's also a Sea Ray
plant. Last June we were joined by several other boats, but today we seem
to be the only boat here (except for all the new Sea Rays at the docks).
We cleated a line from one of their poles to our stern. It makes the boat stable
enough for the TV to work, and we are watching the New York stations reporting on
the blizzard up there. And we felt bad when the cold snap dropped our early
morning temperature below fifty!
Next: Home For The Holidays... the
final leg. --or-- Back to Home Page